The Atlanta Braves (71-53) and San Francisco Giants (69-55) will open up an important four-game National League series on Thursday night at AT&T Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 10:15 ET
Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants
Atlanta ended an ill-timed four-game losing streak in picking up a 5-1 road win over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night, which pulled the club back to within six games in the NL East race. “We didn’t want to be one more game back in the standings,” commented Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. The club is now focused on trying to win its fifth consecutive game at this ballpark, but may suffer from some jet lag in flying across the country. Atlanta is 15-8 against NL West teams this year, with the “under” going 12-10 in those contests.
Braves starting pitcher Tommy Hanson (12-5, 4.27 ERA) has watched the club win his last six starts, which includes a no-decision effort in a 4-3 home victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers last time out. The right-hander is 8-2 with a 3.78 ERA in 12 road games, surrendering 12 home runs in 68 frames. In three career outings versus the Giants, Hanson has compiled a perfect 2-0 record and 2.14 ERA.
San Francisco has moved past All-Star outfielder Melky Cabrera’s 50-game suspension, as it completed a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night. The Giants are now a season-high 14 games above .500, as they’ve won the fourth-most games in the NL since the Midsummer Classic. The entire clubhouse has to be happy about the team’s 5-1 road trip, scoring 33 runs in that time, while the starting rotation compiled a 2.52 ERA. San Francisco is 4-9 as a home underdog of +100 to +125 this year.
Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito (9-8, 4.42 ERA) has watched the club win his last three efforts, but he’s failed to factor into the decision in the last two, allowing eight runs and 13 hits over 9.1 combined innings. The left-hander is 4-5 with a 4.35 ERA in 12 home outings, issuing 32 walks and striking out 38 batters in 70.1 innings. In six career games versus the Braves, Zito has tallied a 4-1 record and 2.03 ERA, including a 9-0 road win on July 17.
Sports bettors will likely back the Giants due to their 4-0 mark in Zito’s last four starts in this series, while the Braves are 1-4 in their last five road games against winning teams.